The Wandering Jew — Volume 09 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 136 pages of information about The Wandering Jew Volume 09.

“Yes!—­death to him! death to him!”

“Unhappy men!” cried Father d’Aigrigny, whilst his hair stood on end with terror; “do you mean to murder me?”

“What about all those, that you and your mate have killed, you wretch?”

“But it is not true—­and—­”

“Drink, then!” repeated the inflexible quarryman; “I ask you for the last time.”

“To drink that would be death,” cried Father d’Aigrigny.

“Oh! only hear the wretch!” cried the mob, pressing closer to him; “he has confessed—­he has confessed!”

“He has betrayed himself!"[40]

“He said, ‘to drink that would be death!’”

“But listen to me,” cried the abbe, clasping his hands together; “this phial is—­”

Furious cries interrupted Father d’Aigrigny.  “Ciboule, make an end of that one!” cried the quarryman, spurning Goliath with his foot.  “I will begin this one!” And he seized Father d’Aigrigny by the throat.

At these words, two different groups formed themselves.  One, led by Ciboule, “made an end” of Goliath, with kicks and blows, stones and wooden shoes; his body was soon reduced to a horrible thing, mutilated, nameless, formless—­a mere inert mass of filth and mangled flesh.  Ciboule gave her cloak, which they tied to one of the dislocated ankles of the body, and thus dragged it to the parapet of the quay.  There, with shouts of ferocious joy, they precipitated the bloody remains into the river.  Now who does not shudder at the thought that, in a time of popular commotion, a word, a single word, spoken imprudently, even by an honest man, and without hatred, will suffice to provoke so horrible a murder.

“Perhaps it is a poisoner!” said one of the drinkers in the tavern of the Rue de la Calandre—­nothing more—­and Goliath had been pitilessly murdered.

What imperious reasons for penetrating the lowest depths of the masses with instruction and with light—­to enable unfortunate creatures to defend themselves from so many stupid prejudices, so many fatal superstitions, so much implacable fanaticism!—­How can we ask for calmness, reflection, self-control, or the sentiment of justice from abandoned beings, whom ignorance has brutalized, and misery depraved, and suffering made ferocious, and of whom society takes no thought, except when it chains them to the galleys, or binds them ready for the executioner!  The terrible cry which had so startled Morok was uttered by Father d’Aigrigny as the quarryman laid his formidable hand upon him, saying to Ciboule:  “Make an end of that one—­I will begin this one!”

[40] This fact is historical.  A man was murdered because a phial full of ammonia was found upon him.  On his refusal to drink it, the populace, persuaded that the bottle contained poison, tore him to pieces.

CHAPTER XXIV.

In the cathedral.

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 09 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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